Called to Rebuild and Restore
Passage: Nehemiah 1:11b–2:20
"These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon…'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jer. 29:1-7)."
I. God calls us each of us to build His kingdom.
"Offenders who worked for private companies while imprisoned obtained employment more quickly, maintained employment longer, and had lower recidivism rates than those who worked in traditional correctional industries or were involved in 'other-than-work' (OTW) activities." National Institute of Justice
"Money is surprisingly bad at making us happy. Once we escape the trap of poverty, levels of wealth have an extremely modest impact on levels of happiness, especially in developed countries. Even worse, it appears that the richest nation in history - 21st century America - is slowly getting less pleased with life. (Or as the economists behind this recent analysis concluded: 'In the United States, the [psychological] well-being of successive birth-cohorts has gradually fallen through time.')." Wired, Why Money Makes You Unhappy
"According to the Bible, we don't merely need the money from work to survive; we need the work itself to survive and live fully human lives." Keller, Every Good Endeavor
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Col 3:23)."
"Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need (Eph 4:28)."
II. God will move your heart to rebuild broken walls in the context of everyday obedience.
"So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem (2:11-12)."
"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing… (Ezra 1:1)."
"Then the king said to me, 'What are you requesting?' So, I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king…(2:4-5a)."
"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain (Ps. 127:1a)."
"…choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (JOSHUA 24:15."
III. Assurance of God's Call Motivates Boldness to Fulfill His Call.
"But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel (2:10)."
"The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem (2:20)."